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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

August 13, 2014 Water Efficiency in a Global Crisis

Source: Huff Post

Listen to the headlines and you will hear more and more frequent anecdotal evidence of the crisis facing our global fresh water supply. Only 3 percent of the water on earth is fresh, and of that some 2 percent is locked in the...

August 13, 2014 5 reasons to panic about Arizona's water, and 5 reasons not to

Source: AZ Central

A June story in the Arizona Daily Star outlined the ways Arizona could end up with an official water shortage, but it pronounced the chances of that happening anytime soon to be "slim."

August 12, 2014 Food safety focus of water report

The Packer Online - The Produce Marketing Association and îWestern Growersî Association partnered with the Center for Produce Safety on a new report about agricultural water and its effect on food safety. The...

August 12, 2014 Toxic algae bloom bigger than Rhode Island headed to Florida

Source: Daily Digest News

A toxic algae bloom one-and-a-half times the size of the Rhode Island is drifting through the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem, and heading straight for Florida’s west coast.

August 11, 2014 We can't let agriculture destroy our environment

Source: Des Moines Register

Are we prepared to sit back and leave our quality of life, our natural resources and our health up to the goodwill of Iowa's agricultural producers? I ask because if you've read the news the past few days, you have learned that...

August 11, 2014 Fracking campaigners criticise 'censored' report on house prices

Source: The Guardian

The government has been criticised for censoring a report into the impact of shale gas drilling that examines the effect on house prices and pressure on local services. Campaigners are calling for full publication of the study...

August 11, 2014 Ohio EPA chief warned Toledo mayor in June letter of 'imminent vulnerability' to city’s drinking water

Source: The Blade

Two months before an algae-related toxin caused Toledo officials to impose a drinking-water ban, top city officials, including Mayor D. Michael Collins, were warned by a top state official that lagging plant repairs threatened...

August 8, 2014 Brazil's water crisis amid drought could lead to rationing

Source: LA Times

A drought in Brazil has led to a water crisis and the country's largest population center is facing the prospect of rationing.. Brazil's Public Ministry, a federal regulatory agency, has recommended that Sao Paulo state...

August 8, 2014 The greening of New Mexico

Source: Abq Journal

At least a quarter of the state is no longer in drought, thanks to a deluge during the past week, according to a drought map released Thursday by multiple federal agencies. It has been more than three years since that much of New...

August 8, 2014 Tattletales Use Twitter to Shame California Water-Wasters

Source: Bloomberg

California’s record drought has unleashed a flood of social-media tattletales. Vigilantes armed with cameraphones prowl neighborhoods from San Diego to San Francisco documenting sprinklers running freely, runoff flowing from...

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